What a ride it’s been for the 2015/16 season. The amount of talent, dedication, and passion for dance team you showed us this year has been amazing. The sport continues to refine and improve and it’s time to send our regional representatives to state. While sections are an imperfect way to send the “best” to state – the dream is a very real possibility for a big number of teams this year. The sheer number of teams who deserve to go this year is really impressive. This weekend, we’re only going to see the top 3 from each of these geographic sections get a ticket. Let’s look at the matchups in-depth:
Section 2AA: Chisago Lakes will play host to the AA metro and north central MN teams. The smallest AA section is still packed with impressive names and will feature the perennial favorites from Totino Grace and Benilde St. Margarets again this year. Those 2 seem to battle back and forth for both kick and jazz titles and it often comes down to a razor thin margin between those two. The real drama here will be in the 3rd place spot as we’ve seen close competition this year for last year’s qualifiers Chisago Lakes and Fridley. Teams from Monticello, Duluth Denfeld, and North Branch are all in the mix for snagging a first ever spot to state. It’s been a while since this group was actually head to head, so a leaderboard score is probably not all it seems.
Section 3AA: Mound Westonka will be the site for the west metro and western MN teams. This sections is usually wild and crazy, so it’s gonna come down to just a few single points and certainly a few tied ranks. The names to watch will be defending champs from Mound Westonka, but Holy Family, Hutchinson, Delano, Orono, Marshall, and Rockford all want in. This group could literally have a 3-4 point spread between the top seven teams. Yikes! Rockford just moved in from class A and is a first time kick performer. They’ll add another wild card dimension to this already dramatic section.
Section 4AA: The north section will be at Rocori, Cold Spring this year and will feature some powerhouse teams who really define class AA style. Sartell St. Stephen, St. Cloud Cathedral, Rocori, and Sauk Rapids Rice are the clear front runners here and at my count – that’s 3 spots for 4 worthy teams. When I watch this group – passion speaks louder than technique because they’re all amazing dancers and have great routines. The absolute athleticism of this section with a bit of “leave it all on the floor” is gonna take the day.
Section 2AAA: The west metro AAA teams will gather at Minnetonka for a mini-state style event. Section 2 is arguably the highest consistent quality of teams in both kick and jazz over the last decade. If you’re lucky enough to make it out of this one, your eyes are probably on a finals birth in 2 weeks. Wayzata and Maple Grove are pretty solid in the leaderboard department, but the teams from Edina, Chaska, Chanhassen, and Eden Prairie all have average scores cracking 80s. This group could have ranks from 1st to 5th pretty easily this weekend. Quality indeed.
Section 4AAA: Forest Lake will host as the newcomers to this section from their former spot in section 3AAA. As if this section already wasn’t deep enough. The north metro and northern MN teams will gather to see what they’ve got now that they’re all together for the first time. Brainerd and St. Cloud Tech will be making an appearance with our north metro leaders from Anoka and Blaine. Things look to be shaken up in this one in 2016 – no one is really safe and secure when there are 4 returning state teams per style in one section.
GOOD LUCK to everyone competing this weekend. Don’t forget to set some personal goals and team goals that you can control – as what gets marked down on that scoresheet is ultimately not something you can decide. A great season doesn’t always come down to just the last day after all. Fans and friends, I look forward to seeing you out in full support of your favorites – let’s keep it positive and classy. See you for results updates tomorrow!!